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Food and wine tourism in Italy – and potential market development for travel agents

When you are talking about food and wine tourism, it seems that Italy is always top of the list. That’s according to foreign and Italian tourists alike. Italian themselves love to enjoy traditional Italian products – especially food and wine. And there is no shortage of choice seeing as there is a seemingless endless menu of delicacies from each of Italy’s 20 regions. And when you consider the fact that each region has different foods and wines for each season, you begin to understand how foreign tourists, but also even Italian tourists will always find lots of new food and wine to enjoy in Italy. There are special dishes and wines for autumn, winter, spring and summer. It’s always a bonus for travel agents to be aware of the possibilities within the food and wine tourism sector, and also to know what kind of people are interested in food and wine tourism, which in Italian, is called “turismo enogastronomico”.

Who are the food and wine tourists or “foodies”?

Recent research carried out by the Observatory for Italian tourism has revealed some interesting things about the typical food and wine tourist that it would be good for travel agents to know. Without being politically incorrect, it would seem that there are some remarkable differences between men and women – who knew?

Newsflash: men drink more wine and beer than women

When it comes to just drinking wine and beer the differences between men and women are almost shocking (and somehow we all knew this already). According to a report from ISTAT in 2017, 65.7% of men drink wine, and 63.4 % of men drink beer. On the other hand, 40.3% of women drink wine, while only 33.5% of them drink beer.

But wait, not all is as is seems

Despite all this, the differences between men and women with respect to food and wine tourism is far less pronounced. According to the report, 43% of male food and wine enthusiasts visited a wine cellar in the last three years compared to 38% of female food and wine enthusiasts. Furthermore, 37% of men and 32% of women surveyed attended a wine festival within a similar time frame. The report goes on to show that 33% of male and 28% of female food and wine lovers visited a micro-brewery or a distillery. Beer festivals were slightly more popular, with 41% of the men and 36% of the women making an appearance.

Food and wine tourism with who?

When asked who you would like to go on a food and wine tour with, men and women responded differently. Men and women were almost just as likely to choose to go on a food and wine tour with their partner (men 42%, women 41%). However, men (21%) were more likely to choose to go with their friends than women (15%). Women prefer to go with the family (36%), but that is only slightly higher than the men (31%) who would choose to go on a food and wine trip with their partner and the kids.

Shopping on food and wine tours

When on a food and wine tour men (51%) prefer to try out the local wine compared to women (46%). However, when it comes to buying presents for friends and family, women (50%) prefer to bring home the local products when compared to men (42%).

Food and wine tourism: what to do between meals and glasses of wine

Another clear difference that emerges between men and women with regard to food and wine tours is what they like doing in their “spare” time. Men prefer a more sporty holiday, 35% surveyed saying they would love to go on a food and wine tour which could be combined with a sporty activity. In comparison, 29% of women said they would be interested in such an offer. Women (84%) on the other hand, are more interested in combining cultural events with their wine and food tour, to help them discover and explore the local culture. However, men are not that far behind in sharing cultural interests (81%).

Interesting figures . . . and now?

The results of the survey show very clearly that there is a great interest in food and wine tourism. And not only that, they also show potential for transforming local food and wine specialities into unique, one-of-a-kind experiential tourist products, which is what we at Artès specialise in. We work closely with locals on the ground to create delicious and unforgettable tourist experiences, combining food and wine with the locality, its traditions and culture. Please swing by our site and check out all of our experiential, food and wine tours and find something new to offer your customers.